Suppose Math and Logic were all there is

  • Thread starter Royce
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  • #1
Royce
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Suppose Alexander were right and the article he linked us to turned out to be correct. Everything in the universe were because of math and logic, geometric relationships.
We all know that math is abstract and not material nor tangable. It can have no energy, mass, matter, dimention or time. The article said that math is outside of space and time remember. Yet math and logic is the cause of it all.
Before I get to my main point I want to point out one bit of illogic in the article, it is relavent to my point. The writer said that QM needed an observer to collapse the probabilty waves into reality; but, that an outside observer wasn't necessary as all of our combined observations from inside would collapse the waves and form the real universe that we observed. Okay, I can accept that possibility; but, what about the first few billion years of the universe's wave that there were no internal observers possible, before heavy elements had formed in the centers of the stars and were blown out by super novas and had a chance to come together and form planets and life to observe and collapse the waves. Makes one wonder doesn't it. Did man create the stars when he first looked up at the sky and observed them? We could carry that all the way to now.
Now back to my main point. We all also know that math and logic are a product of the mind, pure mental abstracts. So, if math and logic made, caused, or brought about the entire universe and everything in it, whose or what's mind made that math and logic and by the previous paragraphs logic who was the external observer necessary to collapse all the propability waves of the forming universe?

Has science, physics, QM and GR finally found and proved the evidence that there is an external MIND that thought up the math and logic that brought about the universe and everything in it. Is that same mind the external OBSERVER that allowed the universe to form and produce life. Will we soon read in the headlines of all the papers; "SCINECE PROVES THE EXISTANCE OF GOD, THE CREATOR."

Comment, thought and ideas cordually invited.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Eh
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Geometric relations are all you need to have structure, and possibly mass, energy, etc. I wouldn't say space and time are abstract concepts, especially since we depend on them to perceive the physical world. I don't know if that's actually all there is to the real universe, but that is certainly the simplest solution.

And before getting upset about QM, you just need to realize the word "observer" is not meant to be taken literally. It doesn't necessarily mean conscious being, as a lifeless rock is just as good an observer as a human is. So anything capable of interacting with a particle is able to collapse the wave function.
 
  • #3
wuliheron
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You don't even need geometry Eh, all you need are principles of symmetry or proportion which need not be geometric.

Religion and spirituality worship God, that is what distinguishes the concept of God from say dying of old age. Sure, we all die and death can be seen as unavoidable and all powerful in that sense, but we don't worship death. Likewise, we don't worship the laws of physics despite their all powerful, imminent, pervasive, and unavoidable nature.

Hence, no matter how extreme the evidence the only way science can ever experience and acknowledge spirituality is emotionally. Since this of course contradicts the goal of scientific objectivity, it is an oxymoron.
 
  • #4
Eh
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But we live in a world that is clearly geometric, and much of physics would have no meaning without it. The big question is whether or not geometric relations of spacetime are fundamental in nature, or if even geometry owes it's existence to something more basic. I would argue that geometry is the simplest explanation we currently have.
 
  • #5
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Eh
But we live in a world that is clearly geometric, and much of physics would have no meaning without it. The big question is whether or not geometric relations of spacetime are fundamental in nature, or if even geometry owes it's existence to something more basic. I would argue that geometry is the simplest explanation we currently have.

Geometry or mathematics as Alex likes to insist. Both of these infer an underlying order or, again, symmetry or proportion. A symmetry or porportion of what exactly is another question altogether. In that regard, geometry is not necessarilly the simplest answer, just one of the more humanly conceivable, one of the more easily pursued avenues of exploration.

The simplest explanation is, of course, that there is no explanation.
 
  • #6
Eh
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That would qualify it as simplicity. Anything the human mind can easily comprehend is by definition a simpler explanation than something not so well known by experience.
 
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  • #7
drag
Science Advisor
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Originally posted by Royce
Suppose Math and Logic were all there is
Maybe, so what ?
(As for the God part, I don't really get it... )
 
  • #8
Royce
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Originally posted by drag
Maybe, so what ?
(As for the God part, I don't really get it... )

Your right of course in saying; "So what?"
I was mearly speculating on "What if it were true."

If the universe is nothing more than geometric relationships or as wuli says symmetry or porportion in whose or what's mind do these mathimatical geometries, symmetries or porportions exist as math is pure abstract thought and has no substance or reality outside of the mind.
As far as Eh's rock being the Observer, that is an impossiblity because there were no rocks in the beginng unless this does away with the Big Band too.
As always in such discussions we go back to First Cause or specifically in this discussion First Mind - God.
Only a spiritual being of immense mental power and capacity could exist outside of space time and hold the math and logic in his mind to create or cause to exist - the universe.

It's the age old argment did God always exist or did the Math/universe always exist? The answer of course in unanswerable and unproveable reguardless of whether you are a scientist or an religionist.
 
  • #9
MathematicalPhysicist
Gold Member
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could you give me a link to the article?

thanks.
 
  • #10
Eh
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The rock was just an example to show anything will do.
 
  • #11
Royce
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Originally posted by loop quantum gravity
could you give me a link to the article?

thanks.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?ar...umber=1&catID=2

If you go to Alexander's first post in his thread
- Hurdles of laymann misunderstanding of mathematics -
you will find the hyper link to the article. I don't know why but went I tried to place it here I continually got an error page at Scientific America's site.
 
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  • #12
Royce
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Eh, I know it was just an example but would anything do a single electron or would it take a proton or an hydrogen atom. Or would it take only energy as in a photon. If nothing existed but quantum probabily waves then what could exist to colapse the wave into anything? I don't know. I only speculate that it may be The Mind of God.
 
  • #13
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Royce
Eh, I know it was just an example but would anything do a single electron or would it take a proton or an hydrogen atom. Or would it take only energy as in a photon. If nothing existed but quantum probabily waves then what could exist to colapse the wave into anything? I don't know. I only speculate that it may be The Mind of God.

Royce, you are missing the essential point. To say everything is mathematics, geometry, symmetry, or proportion is an oxymoron. It is a self-referential and self-contradictory paradox. A mathematics of what? A geometry of what? A symmetry or proportion of what? Each of these questions leads inexorably back to the paradox of existence which no one has managed to resolve rationally since prehistoric times.
 
  • #14
wimms
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Royce, bad speculation, but very interesting point - I'd also like to know what exactly is meant by observer that collapses a wavefunction in QM? Is it some most fundamental particle in the core of anything?
 
  • #15
Eh
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Careful now. Self referential does not equal contradictory. Something fundamental such as spacetime cannot be made of something else by definition, so the question of "geometry of what" would be nonsensical. Is that self referential? Sure it is! Anything fundamental by definition, will necessarily be so. But is it contradictory? Not unless you can actually show how the idea is contradictory. And that's the crux of it. I don't know why you feel anything self referential like geometry is a paradox, especially given that it does not fit the definition of the word.

If you are talking about attempts to define something fundamental like geometry, they would be circular. That is because something fundamental cannot be broken apart into any other definitions. So we can only understand the concept of something fundamental on the basis of our direct experience with the world. For example, how could we possibly define geometry to someone who was blind their entire life? They could learn the math about lines and planes, but would they have any concept of what a surface really is? I would argue no. We cannot explain geometry to someone without prior experience of it, and I believe that is because it is fundemental.

So I would agree that any attempts to actually define it would be paradoxical. But that doesn't mean a fundamental manifold itself is a contradictory entity or paradox.
 
  • #16
Eh
746
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Originally posted by Royce
Eh, I know it was just an example but would anything do a single electron or would it take a proton or an hydrogen atom. Or would it take only energy as in a photon. If nothing existed but quantum probabily waves then what could exist to colapse the wave into anything? I don't know. I only speculate that it may be The Mind of God.

In the early universe, there were countless particles which are associated with the wave functions. Any electron that interacts with another wavefunction can collapse it. It sounds circular, but there is more to it than that, and the cirular aspect comes without the need for consciouss beings.
 
  • #17
FZ+
1,599
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Only a spiritual being of immense mental power and capacity could exist outside of space time and hold the math and logic in his mind to create or cause to exist - the universe.
Hmm.. I am not sure but what I think Alex means is that these rules define existence. Ie. to say the being can "exist outside of space time and maths" is in itself an oxymoron. The only possibility is that the rules and maths self generate the universe - the random creation of causality itself is the first cause, and without causality you cannot identify a discrete first cause.
 
  • #18
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Eh
Careful now. Self referential does not equal contradictory. Something fundamental such as spacetime cannot be made of something else by definition, so the question of "geometry of what" would be nonsensical. Is that self referential? Sure it is! Anything fundamental by definition, will necessarily be so. But is it contradictory? Not unless you can actually show how the idea is contradictory. And that's the crux of it. I don't know why you feel anything self referential like geometry is a paradox, especially given that it does not fit the definition of the word...

So I would agree that any attempts to actually define it would be paradoxical. But that doesn't mean a fundamental manifold itself is a contradictory entity or paradox.

I am being very careful. These are self-referential, but they are also self-contradictory. Mathematics, geometry, symmetry and proportion all require rules of organization in order to have any meaning whatsoever. Thus, by making them self-referential you defy their intrinsic nature altogether and insist they ultimately do not obey rules, but somehow just blurr into an indescribable continuum.
 
  • #19
Royce
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Originally posted by FZ+
Hmm.. I am not sure but what I think Alex means is that these rules define existence. Ie. to say the being can "exist outside of space time and maths" is in itself an oxymoron. The only possibility is that the rules and maths self generate the universe - the random creation of causality itself is the first cause, and without causality you cannot identify a discrete first cause.

FZ+, I know I'm cheating a little bit with Alex's beliefs. If I understand him correctly, he believes that math exists in and of itself and is the First Cause of the universe. I'm saying that Math cannot exist in and of itself as it is abstract thought and must originate and reside in a Mind.
The spiritual plane, if such a thing exists is outside physical spacetime by definition (or at least by concept). Thus the Mind must be spiritual which is to some the definition or concept of God.

Wuli, as you know I agree almost completely with you and your philosophy. This is pure speculation. A thought experiment if you will.

Eh, unless I missed it you still haven't told us what the original observer or interactor was that collapsed the first wave if all that existed were prpbability waves. This is again simply a First Cause question put in QM terms. I don't think that there is an answer.

(Don't know what's wrong with me today. I seem to be unable to make a definite or absolute statement. Very unlike me.[?] )
 
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  • #20
Eh
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Originally posted by wuliheron
I am being very careful. These are self-referential, but they are also self-contradictory. Mathematics, geometry, symmetry and proportion all require rules of organization in order to have any meaning whatsoever. Thus, by making them self-referential you defy their intrinsic nature altogether and insist they ultimately do not obey rules, but somehow just blurr into an indescribable continuum.

I don't know what you're trying to say here. I don't see anything at all self contradictory about geometry, so you'll have to give some examples.

Take a simple volume of space, as a start. Let's assume we're talking about something fundamental here, so that this space is not made up of anything else. What is self contradictory about this?
 
  • #21
Eh
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Originally posted by Royce

Eh, unless I missed it you still haven't told us what the original observer or interactor was that collapsed the first wave if all that existed were prpbability waves. This is again simply a First Cause question put in QM terms. I don't think that there is an answer.

I think the idea is that there has always been observers. That is, you can't have a wave function without the associated particle, so they are inseperable.
 
  • #22
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Eh
I don't know what you're trying to say here. I don't see anything at all self contradictory about geometry, so you'll have to give some examples.

Take a simple volume of space, as a start. Let's assume we're talking about something fundamental here, so that this space is not made up of anything else. What is self contradictory about this?

Saying everything is geometry implies symmetry or proportion, but without a temporal reference. Along the lines of Zeno's assertion the universe is ultimately indivisible, indestructable, eternal, and unchanging. Hence, the contradiction.
 
  • #23
Eh
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What about that is contradictory? You can say the universe is constantly evolving geometry, or a 4D static geometry. But I still don't see a contradiction in either case.
 
  • #24
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Eh
What about that is contradictory? You can say the universe is constantly evolving geometry, or a 4D static geometry. But I still don't see a contradiction in either case.

The contradiction in Zeno's static universe is that it contradicts the everyday observation that things do indeed change.

In the case of a constantly evolving geometry, this contradicts the original assertion that everything is geometry. It is tantamount to saying everything is geometry and geometry is change. A variation on the theme that "change is the only constant."
 
  • #25
Eh
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The contradiction in Zeno's static universe is that it contradicts the everyday observation that things do indeed change.

Ahh, but that's not an internal self contradiction. While it's not something from everyday experience, it's still a geometric concept that we can imagine. No self contradictions though.

In the case of a constantly evolving geometry, this contradicts the original assertion that everything is geometry. It is tantamount to saying everything is geometry and geometry is change. A variation on the theme that "change is the only constant."

That's my fault, because I should have been more clear. The geometry of our universe is not the flat, unchanging, boring world of Euclidean geometry either. Curved spacetime seems to have change as a instrinsic property. That is, you cannot have a universe where nothing happens, so no space without time and vice versa. So the non euclidean geometry of the real world is a constantly evolving geometry by it's very nature.

The only way out of that is to add a 4th spatial dimension and claim time is only an illusion of that dimension. But it cannot be both - either we have a 3D manifold that is forever evolving, or we have a static 4D universe. You can pick anyone that might be correct, but I don't see any self contradictions with either.
 
  • #26
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Eh
Ahh, but that's not an internal self contradiction. While it's not something from everyday experience, it's still a geometric concept that we can imagine. No self contradictions though.


It is a self-contradiction in that the theory refers pointedly to reality, yet contradicts reality. If you were to say Santa loves his elves and his elves love him, that is a self-referential statement with no reference to reality. Saying that everything that exists is in reality geometry, is self-referential and self-contradictory in that it defies the meaning of the word reality. Its along the lines of my pointing at a cat, insisting it is in reality a pickle, and then defining a pickle using a self-referential definition.
 
  • #27
Eh
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1
Originally posted by wuliheron
It is a self-contradiction in that the theory refers pointedly to reality, yet contradicts reality.

I am talking about the proposal itself, not whether or not it actually correctly describes the world we live. That is, the concept of a universe made of pure geometry itself does notcontain any self contradictions.

If you were to say Santa loves his elves and his elves love him, that is a self-referential statement with no reference to reality.

So what? The proposal, though silly, does not contain any self contradictions. My whole point is that one cannot claim the idea of a fundamental geometry is logically inconsistent, as it does not contain any self contradictions.

Saying that everything that exists is in reality geometry, is self-referential and self-contradictory in that it defies the meaning of the word reality.

I don't see how it defies the meaning of the word reality, but in any case this playing with semantics. The proposal is merely that the universe is nothing but geometry (fields).

Its along the lines of my pointing at a cat, insisting it is in reality a pickle, and then defining a pickle using a self-referential definition.

Not quite, because the physical universe consisting of space, time, matter and energy ultimately are reduced to the relations of fields. That is modern physics. Even so, it does get reduced to something that is self referential. But as I said, anything we proclaim to be fundamental must be self referential, as if otherwise we would have a contradiction. Something fundamental cannot be made of something else, so it's the end of the line. But self referential does not equal self contradiction.
 
  • #28
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Eh
I am talking about the proposal itself, not whether or not it actually correctly describes the world we live. That is, the concept of a universe made of pure geometry itself does notcontain any self contradictions.

Yes, from a totally theoretical point of view, another universe might exist somewhere composed entirely of geometry and such a theory is merely self-referential.

Not quite, because the physical universe consisting of space, time, matter and energy ultimately are reduced to the relations of fields. That is modern physics. Even so, it does get reduced to something that is self referential. But as I said, anything we proclaim to be fundamental must be self referential, as if otherwise we would have a contradiction. Something fundamental cannot be made of something else, so it's the end of the line. But self referential does not equal self contradiction.

Well, yes. Modern physics proposes everything is fields, whatever they are. Many physicists have proclaimed everything is energy. All such self-referential theories have inherent paradoxes, even though they are based on real observations, but then, nobody who ever claimed modern physics much less existence makes sense has been able to prove it.

What is a field without components? What is energy without matter? What is geometry without change? Some say it is just a question of semantics, others that is a question of using a different logic, and still others like myself it the paradox of existence. Until someone comes up with the logic or semantics that explain these things I shall take the less assertive position.
 
  • #29
Eh
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Originally posted by wuliheron
Yes, from a totally theoretical point of view, another universe might exist somewhere composed entirely of geometry and such a theory is merely self-referential.

So we agree then, that while self referential, it is not self contradictory?

Well, yes. Modern physics proposes everything is fields, whatever they are. Many physicists have proclaimed everything is energy.

It's really the same thing. A classic field is a distribution of energy, but the energy also has an associated geometry (curvature). Likewise, at each point in curved spacetime there is an associated amount of work (energy) that can be done. So as I said, the geometry of the universe is not the boring Euclidean geometry we learn in school, but is curved and ever evolving. So space and time are inseperable, and we have a 4D space-time. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what you call it, because the description will be the same.

All such self-referential theories have inherent paradoxes, even though they are based on real observations, but then, nobody who ever claimed modern physics much less existence makes sense has been able to prove it.

What are some of the inherent paradoxes of the field?

What is a field without components? What is energy without matter? What is geometry without change? Some say it is just a question of semantics, others that is a question of using a different logic, and still others like myself it the paradox of existence. Until someone comes up with the logic or semantics that explain these things I shall take the less assertive position.

I say it's neither semantics nor paradox. Matter, energy and space are different aspects of the same fundamental thing.
 
  • #30
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Eh
I say it's neither semantics nor paradox. Matter, energy and space are different aspects of the same fundamental thing.

It may be, but without proof or some sort of demonstrable usefulness for making such an assumption, it is irrational to do so. To do so is, again, to take the theory beyond the merely self-referential into the realm of the self-contradictory because it contradicts the very same rational reasons for postulating the theory in the first place.
 
  • #31
Eh
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Actually, that they are the same fundamental thing is quite easy to show. Since you can take any event or thing in the universe and find that they all require time and space by definition, it is quite rational to decide they are the same single entity.
 
  • #32
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Eh
Actually, that they are the same fundamental thing is quite easy to show. Since you can take any event or thing in the universe and find that they all require time and space by definition, it is quite rational to decide they are the same single entity.

Well, yes and no. Rational in the sense of conceivable, but not in the sense that it explains the evidence better than other explanations. Being self-referential it cannot be determined if it is an entity at all, much less a single entity or something beyond comprehension at that point. Our definitions of space and time are seriously vague and the subject of intense theoretical research.

For all I know spacetime is twelve distinct things all interacting to form an illusion from the human perspective of a single thing. Certainly QM and now even the recently discovered cosmological expansion seem to imply something outside of our universe may well be effecting ours. There is just no way of making a reasonable guess between all these alternatives until more information is gathered or a TOE is discovered.

In the meantime, new CP violations keep cropping up.
 
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  • #33
Eh
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Well, yes and no. Rational in the sense of conceivable, but not in the sense that it explains the evidence better than other explanations.

I'd say it does by default, because there isn't any real competition at this point. What I mean is, nothing we know of explains the physical universe better than field theories.

Being self-referential it cannot be determined if it is an entity at all, much less a single entity or something beyond comprehension at that point.

Epistemology aside, the point is that the idea contains no self contradictions, and explains the available evidence.

Certainly QM and now even the recently discovered cosmological expansion seem to imply something outside of our universe may well be effecting ours.

Our universe is often a term used to describe our observable universe. Anything we can never view is outside - but still part of the cosmos as a whole. And in cosmology and QM, that cosmos is described in terms of fields.

There is just no way of making a reasonable guess between all these alternatives until more information is gathered or a TOE is discovered.

What alternatives? The big problem with finding a TOE is the quantum nature of the gravitational field. There are many proposals for this, but I don't see any alternatives that throw away the field altogether.
 
  • #34
wuliheron
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Originally posted by Eh
I'd say it does by default, because there isn't any real competition at this point. What I mean is, nothing we know of explains the physical universe better than field theories.

Epistemology aside, the point is that the idea contains no self contradictions, and explains the available evidence.

What alternatives? The big problem with finding a TOE is the quantum nature of the gravitational field. There are many proposals for this, but I don't see any alternatives that throw away the field altogether.

Neither did Newton fore see the advent of QM, there was simply no way he could have short of a miracle. The evidence of current field theories strongly implies something fundamental is missing from the picture we have drawn. To continue to insist we have already found the basic metaphysical tools we need to describe everything in the face of ongoing failure to do so and serious discrepencies like the CP violations is absurd. It is the same mistake Newtonian's followers made when, in the name of science and objectivity they persisted in insisting the universe is a giant wind-up toy.
 
  • #35
Eh
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Oh, no one is denying that something is missing in physicists understanding of quantum gravity. But that doesn't mean the notion of fields (which works so well) needs to be tossed out entirely. It just means that the exact nature of the field is not understood. It is a similar case with Newton and the advent of QM and GR. Those theories were not thrown away, but merely built upon. Netwon's laws of motion were mere approximations of the truth, but are still valid in every day situations. Likewise, Newton's mysterious gravitational field was merely given a more clear definition with Einstein's GR, and was not discarded. The term "unified field theory" and TOE usually mean the same thing, and it seems the question is of a precise description of the field, not whether or not they are really fundemental.
 

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